CompTIA Organizes Channel March on Capitol in DC19 Oct, 2011
Washington, DC - October 17, 2011- The Occupy Wall Street movement is going global as ordinary people around the world gather in major cities to vent their frustrations over government and economic policies. CompTIA is doing the same, of sorts, for solution providers by organizing meetings with Washington lawmakers and federal policymakers, says Lawrence Walsh, CEO / president of The 2112 Group and former editor of VARBusiness Magazine.
Walsh cites CompTIA is hosting the Washington Fly-In, a forum Nov. 1-3 in which more than three dozen solution providers will meet with Washington powerbrokers to express their needs, economic concerns and criticisms of regulatory policies on their businesses. The intent is to help make lawmakers more aware of the channel’s unique business needs.
“What we’ve noticed for a long time that there’s a certain level of understanding about the IT industry, but it focus on the large multinationals like Microsoft and Dell,” says Elizabeth Hyman, CompTIA’s vice president of public policy. “We want congressmen to understand the significant role small technology companies play in the economy and the need to maintain the health of the channels.”
The Washington Fly-In will feature sessions with policymakers and influencers, tours of the Capitol and meetings with representatives from the CompTIA members’ home districts. The Fly-In also features meetings with the leaders of the Small Business Congressional Caucus, which focuses on the regulations and policies that affect businesses such as the majority of CompTIA members and their respective customers.
CompTIA and its attending members plan on talking with lawmakers about tax policy, making information more available to small businesses, and taking an active role in addressing the unique needs of small technology businesses and the solution provider channel.
“Every day business men and women trying to make sure they make their payroll and provide services of value. It’s not captive to a particular party. It’s about a reasonable and thoughtful approach to the issues that affect them. Making the lawmakers and policymakers understand what the issues are and demanding a thoughtful discussion on these issues. We hope it will obviously make a difference,” Hyman tells Channelnomics.
CompTIA is best known for its certification and training programs, but a major plank in its agenda is public policy and advocacy. Through its Washington office (within steps of the Capitol), CompTIA has worked with key lawmakers on small business and technology legislation. In 2009, it formed the CompTIA Political Action Committee to support candidates with positions friendly to the channel and technology industry. In the 2010 midterm elections, the PAC supported 14 candidates – seven from each party.
While some of CompTIA’s policy advocacy may seem beyond the scope of the rank-and-file channel, the issues it tackles impact solution providers of all sizes and scope. Often times, though, CompTIA’s policy advocacy work goes unnoticed by solution providers.
The Washington Fly-In has the potential of not only influencing lawmakers, but making solution providers more aware of the channel’s needs and getting solution providers more involved in the policy advocacy process. Bringing so many representatives of CompTIA’s membership together in Washington also has the potential of helping to craft new agendas on Capitol Hill and in CompTIA’s public policy department.
The CompTIA Washington Fly-In isn’t anything like the Occupy Wall Street movement. No, it has much greater potential for influencing change since it’s real and rational people discussing real issues. “Any time you get people to come to Washington and engage in the process, it’s an education in and of itself,” Hyman says.